First Sunday of Advent: Hope

Normally, we would have started more decorating for Christmas by now, but none of us it up to it, yet. As of now, I’m the least sick person in the household!

I did want to get our Advent wreath set up, though.

Normally, it would have tiny decorations added to it, and a white candle in the middle, but the ornaments are still in their boxes. So I added its mini light string, and stuck our miniature nativity scene in the middle.

We also usually set it up on a counter between the dining room and kitchen, but for now, it’s on the dining table.

We’ll catch up on the rest, later!

May this first Sunday of Advent see your heart rise up in Hope.

The Re-Farmer

Morning head count!

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving to my friends in the US! I hope you have a wonderful day today. 😊

My goodness, this group really loves it when I put kibble on the cat house roof!

It’s mostly the older kittens and adult cats. I even got to pet Broccoli! But only because she didn’t want to leave the food. The kibble I leave up there gets inhaled pretty quickly!

The younger kittens mostly prefer more ground level food. The kittens under the cat house take “ground level” to the extreme. 😄

Altogether, I counted 29 heads this morning – and I never had a chance to peek into the entry of the cats’ house. Usually, there’s at least one more in there, eating at the tray just inside, but not always.

Meanwhile, the self-sequestered cats in my office are very obviously happier, now that Bitty is gone. Amazing how such a little fuzz ball could stress the other cats out so much. Butterscotch, I can sort of understand. By the time we got her fixed and discovered her uterus was “tattery and falling apart”, kittens must have meant nothing but pain to her. But Nosencrantz? Why was Nosencrantz so freaked out? But then, everything seems to freak Nosencrantz out, hence her alternative name, Anxiety Bear.

We need to find her a home with no other cats. She likes people. Oddly, most of the other cats don’t like her, either. When even David will suddenly up and attack her – David!!!! – while she’s just up on her favourite perch by the ceiling, minding her own business, there is something odd.

We’ve got some very nice weather happening for the next while. Today, we’re supposed to reach a high of 1C/34F. Tomorrow, we’re supposed to reach 4C/39F! Then 3C/37F the day after.

My brother heard back from the roofing company. Because the weather is so good, there’s still a chance they’ll be able to get a crew up here. Fingers crossed!

In other things, I’m feeling somewhat better today. Some pain killers and lying down for a couple of hours yesterday helped. I even went to bed “early” and got almost 7 hours of sleep. Which is about 3 hours more than I usually get. 😄

Still, I’m going to be taking it easy today. When visiting my mother to do errands, we talked so much, my throat was sore by the time I left. I’m not used to talking much, so that didn’t take long. 😄 Now, that sore throat is worse, and I’m starting to feel like I’m coming down with a cold. A good day to stay inside, and drink lots of hot drinks with lemon and honey, while getting crafty! I found most of what I needed at the dollar store to make our annual Christmas decorations, but I’m not willing to drive to the city for the stuff I couldn’t find, so I’ll make do with what I’ve got on hand.

These are my first experiments. They’re called “berlingots”, which is the name of a hard candy of a similar shape, or sometimes Dragon Boats. These were made on a cardboard form that started off as a rectangle of 2″ x 6″, but I’ll be making ones for the tree probably from a 3″ x 9″ strip. I don’t think I want to get any larger than that. Or I’ll make both sizes, with the smaller ones for the top of the tree, and larger for the bottom. We have a pretty small tree. It is currently hanging flat against the dining room door, several feet above ground, to get the cats used to it being there. I was able to bring the tree up from storage in the basement, but I had to get the girls to haul the bins of decorations up. I can’t carry those up the stairs; my knees aren’t stable enough anymore. I think I’ll be leaving most of the decorating to the girls, since pretty much all of it will involve climbing up and down the little step ladder to hang things out of cat reach! 😂

Anyhow; for the decorations, I’ll be using more seasonal yard to wrap on them, and I want to find things I can pin to the points, such as beads, or maybe I’ll make some tassels. Each one will be different.

So that will be my project for today, if all goes to plan.

For now, though, I think it’s time to get the kettle on again, and make some more hot lemonade!

The Re-Farmer

Remembrance Day

Today is Remembrance Day, here in Canada. Since moving here, we typically have not gone anywhere to formally observe the day, since there is nothing local and, of course, no one was allowed to hold Remembrance Day ceremonies for the past two years.

Last night, though, I got a call from my mother. Her town was having their ceremonies again, starting with a pancake breakfast. She started talking about what was going on, and how she was planning to go, and I knew she was leading to a point, so I offered to drive her. Normally, she would head over with her walker, but it’s been getting harder for her to go far, these days. Plus, there’s a bitter wind out there! At least it’s not like last year; we had a long and mild fall, but we did get snow for Remembrance Day.

So this morning I headed out and went to the ceremonies with her.

They were really well done, and I was teary eyed more than a few times. The candles in the photo had a main candle for the day in general, and candles lit in memory of local people that died in WWI and WWII, another for those who passed on after the wars, and finally one for those serving now.

It was good to see my old Air Cadet squad is still around, though I did cringe for them a bit. They didn’t seem to have been well instructed for their parts in the ceremony, and were a bit lost at times. Having been on the drill team, I was disappointed to see they weren’t well trained in that respect at all – and I’m including their Lieutenants on that! The cadets did have military representatives to model, though, and that made a difference.

My mother was actually on better behaviour, though before things started, I got the story of just how badly the pianist played the last time there were ceremonies, and when speeches started, she was quick to criticise people for not speaking “well.” I told her it was great that they were up there at all, because a lot of people have a really hard time with public speaking or performances. She stopped making criticisms, so I’m hoping she accepted that, but maybe she just didn’t like my not joining her in her criticisms! 😄

Because of the weather, when things were concluded, they didn’t have a ceremonial parade of the wreaths to the cenotaph outdoors. Instead, the cadets and other military representatives were going to lay only 3 wreaths, and people were invited to join if they were up to it. Otherwise, we were invited for coffee and dainties. My mother considered staying, but didn’t see anyone she recognised, so she decided to just go home. It was a long time for her, so she was probably pretty tired, too. I’m glad I was able to drive her because, if I hadn’t, she said she would have walked the distance! It was only a few blocks, but it would easily have taken her at least half an hour to do it, with her need to stop and rest so often now, and it would have been absolutely miserable walking straight into that wind to get there! She does have the power chair my brother got for her, but she refuses to use it. *sigh*

For all the wind and cold, at least it was a bright and sunny day.

I have made sure to give the cats food and warm water before I left, but by the time I got back, the food was all gone, and while the heated water bowl still had a bit of water in it, the rest was frozen! Especially the big bowl. When I came out with more warm water for them, I had to take an ax to the ice in the big bowl. It wasn’t quite frozen solid, but it was pretty hard close!

I’m glad I ordered two 300g tubs of powdered lysine for the cats. I add about a quarter cup, maybe a bit less, to their kibble, and they get fed twice a day. Judging by how quickly the level is going down in the first tub, I would estimate we’ll go through three of these a month, so we’ll have to make sure to order more at least 3 more at the end of this month. More, if the budget allows. The cat lady says it takes 6 weeks for there to be a noticeable difference with the lysine, which means we’ve still got a couple more weeks or so. We are still seeing/hearing cats coughing and sneezing, and a few still have leaky eyes, but they do all seem to be improving. Whether it’s because of the lysine, or because they were already improving without it, I really can’t say. The lysine should act as a preventative, too, though, so if it’s working, and we keep using it, this should mean the end of their outbreaks. The only problem is, there’s no way to measure doses for individual cats. We just toss the kibble in the powder, and hope it’s enough.

I saw the bitty baby this morning, but I couldn’t see it when I came back. The sun was in just the right position to light up inside the cats’ house through the small south facing window in the entry, giving me a good view of the inside from the east facing window. I didn’t see the bitty baby, but I did notice a sheet of aluminum out near the litter box (which I’ve seen kittens using!) that shouldn’t have been there. The heat shield for the ceramic terrarium bulb was torn off! It should actually be okay, given how the fixture is positioned, but that’s not something I want to take a chance with, so we’re going to have to lift the roof and a daughter will have to climb in. While we’re at it, I want to add something to better support the timer for the heat bulb, because it keeps getting knocked loose from the top and ends up facing the floor. Without the light sensor facing a window, the heat bulb will stay on all the time, rather than being shut off during daylight hours. With the windows, there should be enough passive solar heat during the day, and it would not be good for them if things get too warm in there.

Hmm… I wonder if we have a thermometer we can spare to hang in there? Someplace in the middle, to get a sense of the ambient temperature, while still being visible from one of the windows. I don’t think we have a spare anywhere, but I might be going into town tomorrow, so maybe I can pick one up at the dollar store or something.

In other things, we’ve been finding water pooled in the entry way lately. That means that water from the kitchen sink is backing up the laundry drain, for all the care we are trying to take to not pour too much water down the sink at once. The block is getting worse. I was going to wait until the end of the month’s pay before calling a plumber, but we just can’t wait anymore. I don’t know what it’ll cost, but we do have this month’s payment to the tree company that chipped our branches for us. There is no formal arrangement on paying them back, and I think they’ll understand if we have to miss a month, or make a smaller payment, because we had to call a plumber. Who knows. It may not cost as much as I fear, and what we’ve been able to set aside for the plumber might be enough on its own. We were really happy with the guy that brought his auger to clear our pipe to the septic tank, so we will hopefully be able to get him again. This being Remembrance Day, I didn’t phone him, but I did sent a message through his website’s contact form, explaining our problem.

I hope to hear back from him soon. It’ll be nice to not have to run the hose from the washing machine through the front doors in the winter!

The Re-Farmer

Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s Thanksgiving weekend, here in Canada. Thanksgiving is officially tomorrow (the second Monday of October), but we had our dinner today.

We did pretty much everything different this time! Including the turkey. I had hoped to brine the turkey overnight, but didn’t have the energy for it. Well. Mostly, my hands were hurting too much. Either way, we normally would just roast the turkey, covered in bacon. To keep the turkey from sticking to the bottom of the roaster, I would put a layer of some vegetable under it, depending on what I have at the time. An onion sliced into rings, long stripes of carrot, pieces of celery, that sort of thing.

Turkey takes a long time to roast, though, so I decided to try something different.

I spatchcocked it. Something I’ve done with chicken, before, but not turkey.

It’s surprisingly easy to cut that spine out, even with the pain in my hands.

Once spatchcocked, however, it no longer fit in my roaster. Using a baking sheet meant I could use a rack under the turkey. I still added some thick slices of the Tropeana Lunga onions we need to use up first, under the turkey.

For the bacon, I would normally weave the sliced right on top of the bird, but tried something different there, too.

In another baking tray, lined with a silicone baking sheet (parchment paper would have worked, too), I wove the slices from an entire package of bacon. That got topped with another silicone baking sheet, and then I used a heavy marble rolling pin to flatten it out. After removing the top sheet, I used the bottom one to transfer the bacon mat to the top of the turkey. The final step was to add some water to the bottom of the pan.

I forgot to take a “before” picture, but this is how the turkey come out after it was done.

It took a lot less time to roast it, too.

After the turkey was in the oven, I got the mixed vegetables prepared, then spread out on another baking tray and added to the oven about 40 minutes into the turkey’s roasting time.

The mixed vegetables included some Uzbeck Golden carrots (I didn’t want to use the Black Nebula carrots, as they’d discover the entire dish!), more Tropean Lunga onions, the last of our own potatoes, plus a few store bought potatoes, some Red Kuri squash, sweet potatoes and, of course, the sunchokes. That all got tossed with some salt, pepper, garlic granules, paprika and olive oil. It turned out awesome.

When the turkey and vegetables were getting close to done, we made a soup as well. Something else I’ve never done before…

Peanut soup.

When I was able to visit my brother not long ago, we had peanut soup for lunch. I’d never tasted peanut soup before! My SIL had spent a long time trying to recreate one that she’d had at a restaurant. A recipe for West African Peanut Soup was the closest recipe she found, and she modified it to get the flavour she was after. I was able to take a picture of the recipe she used, along with her own notes for the things she changed.

What we made was a mix of the original recipe, plus some of her modifications, and it turned out really well. Among the optional ingredients was shredded chicken, which we skipped this time. The instructions also suggested one way to serve it was over rice. My younger daughter helped me make it, and we both found it funny when, after her sister had some of the soup, she commented on how it seemed a bit like a curry, and that she was tempted to put it over her turkey, adding that it would probably be great over a bed of rice!

Once the idea was brought up, both girls did use the last of it over their turkey, and decreed it delicious.

This is definitely something we will make again!

By the time we were done our dinner, none of us had room for desert, so that waited a few hours. For that, we just had a purchased pumpkin pie and some butterscotch swirl ice cream.

Meanwhile, I’ve also set aside a turkey dinner, including the soup, to bring to my mother tomorrow. She should have enough to last her a couple of days. 😊

If she’s willing to eat it, of course. No mashed potatoes and gravy, this year. 😉

The Re-Farmer

Happy Easter!

My daughter was sweet enough to take photos of Easter brunch from our basket for me to share.

She even used a couple of the Lavender Rose China we inherited from my late MIL as part of the display. She made it all look so pretty!

Unfortunately, my husband had an unusually bad pain day and was not able to join the girls. In fact, I don’t think he even ate at all until shortly before I got home. 😦

As for myself, I left early for my mom’s to make sure I had time to fill her gas tank first (gas prices have gone down a few pennies to 169.9 cents per litre). We had a short visit before walking across the street with her walker to her church. Having the church so close is one of the main reasons she chose to move to where she is! 😀 It was an excellent service, and I quite appreciated the homily. After church, we headed out to my brother’s place.

There are two routes that I’m familiar with to get to their place. Normally, I’d take a more straightforward route on the highways, bypassing the city, to get to the town my brother lives in. My mother, however, insists on a route that takes us through a smaller city, where we have to cross an insanely narrow bridge over a major river. Which isn’t too much of a problem in my mother’s little car, but every time I take that bridge with our van, I feel like I’m either going to hit oncoming traffic, or scrape the guardrails! My mother is so insistent on taking the “right” route (which she thinks is a short cut), that when I got distracted and turned towards the city (my usual route) instead of the other direction to take a cross road to another highway, she actually got furious and started shouting at me for going the wrong way.

It took half a minute to circle around, and I was able to calm her down, but even for her it was a bit much to get so angry, so fast.

There turned out to be an irony about this.

Things were more pleasant as the drive continued. We got to the smaller city and drove through it to the bridge and…

It was closed.

Which… of course it would be. With the snow we’ve recently had, and the bridge being so narrow, now that I think about it, yeah, it would be. In fact, I would not be surprised to learn it was closed through most of the winter.

So we bypassed the bridge and got onto another highway towards the bigger city. However, in taking this route, we were passing through a more populated area, so the speed limits were all much lower. Which means that we probably ended up taking at least half an hour longer to get there than if we’d gone the route I almost took out of habit that she yelled at me for!

The irony was not lost on her!

When we realized the bridge was closed, I pulled over long enough to message my brother to let him know about the bridge, and that we would be a bit longer. As I was getting back on the road, I noticed it was just starting to snow.

The weather forecast for today was for either isolated flurries, or up to 6cm/2in of snow, depending on which app I looked at. Until then, the day had been completely clear. Within minutes, we were driving into ever heavier snowfall. Thankfully, it was warm enough that it melted as soon as it hit pavement, but visibility got quite poor in places.

When we finally got to the last leg of the journey, approaching a road I could have taken for a shorter route to my brother’s, we kept on going because it was blocked by a train! It was quite a while before we finally passed the end of the train, and I was actually starting to wonder if it would be clear of our next possible turn off when we got there. Thankfully, it was, so there were no more delays in getting to my brother’s.

The visit was absolutely fantastic. We had a fantastic time seeing each other, a wonderful dinner and, best of all, I got lots of baby snuggles!

So many baby snuggles.

Unfortunately, the snow did not lessen any and we left far earlier than we wanted to. It’s a good thing we did. While the roads were still good, they were very wet, and would have soon started to freeze. As it was, the further north we got, the snow was less, but I could see it starting to freeze over in places.

After dropping my mother off and continuing home, the highway was actually much better and almost dry, until I got about 5 or 10 minutes from home, when I drove into snow again, but it was just snowy enough to impact visibility a bit, not road conditions.

One thing we did see a lot of was deer! Not often. Just lost of them. On our way out, we passed a field that had maybe 20 deer scattered around it. On my way back, just as I was slowing down to turn off the highway, I saw what had to be at least 30 deer in a field. A group of at least 10 were just lying in the snow! I’ve seen some fairly large herds of deer in the area over the years, but this group was easily the most I’ve ever seen of white tail deer, all at once.

The girls were sweet enough to set aside portions from our basket for me, which was much appreciated by the time I got home.

I did notice that, by the time I got home, the kibble was all gone, so I topped that up before going in.

I saw very few outside cats this morning. As I was leaving, I startled a skunk, and it ran under the cat’s house. As I walked by, I could see it’s adorable, pointy little nose poking out, as it watched me leave. When I got back, there was another skunk – or maybe the same one – poking around the kibble house trays, trying to find something to eat.

Potato Beetle, meanwhile, remains in the sun room, and has his very own bowl of food that he doesn’t have to share with any other cats. Or skunks… birds… deer… When I got home, he actually made a “dash” for the door to get outside. He can’t dash very quickly right now, with his injured leg, so that wasn’t much of a problem.

What is more of a problem is the fact that the litter box remains completely unused. Which means he’s found a corner in the sun room somewhere that he’s using, instead. *sigh* It’s a good thing the sun room has a concrete floor!

Rolando Moon was following me around while I was doing my morning rounds, and enjoys running ahead, then rolling on the ground. I couldn’t resist sharing this picture, when I realized her tongue is sticking out!

What a silly kitty!

As I write this, we’re now heading towards 10pm. It’s still snowing a bit, and gotten cold enough for it to finally start accumulating. It’s not the first time we’ve had snow for Easter, of course, but usually that’s been when Easter was earlier in the month! Last night, we hit lows of -17C/1F, that I know of, and the sun room thermometer actually dipped below 0C/32F. Potato Beetle made use of the warming lamp and was just fine. Tonight, the low is supposed to be only -7C/19F, though the wind chill is supposed to be -14C/7F. Starting tomorrow, however, we’re supposed to reach highs above freezing, and stay there from now on, with lows barely dipping below freezing over the next few days. In a couple of days, we’re supposed to get a mix of rain and snow, but today’s snow should be our last blast of winter.

But then, we thought we were getting the last blasts of winter a couple of times now, only to have the forecast change, quite a lot, over and over! However, looking at our 30 year average, and record, highs and lows, I think we’ll be leveling off and warming up from now on.

Even with the snow, however, today was a fantastic Easter!

I hope you and yours also had an excellent day, filled with food, family and fun!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 Easter basket

Today, we assembled our traditional Polish Easter basked and blessed it. If you wish to learn more about the symbolism of its contents, you may wish to visit this site. (link will open a new tab)

Over the years, we modified, dropped or added items with complementary symbolism. In the tiny jars, we have salt (traditional) red wine vinegar, mustard and olive oil (non-traditional). Normally, we’d have horseradish root, but ours is buried under snow, and we don’t use it enough to warrant a jar, however the mustard we chose this year has horseradish in it. The olives are non-traditional, and while eggs are traditional, this year we have pickled eggs, which is not. The bright yellow and white ones are the turmeric eggs we tried this year; the white spots are from being a tight fit in the jar! 😀 The cheese, ham, sausage and bread are all traditional, as is the butter in a small glass. Usually, I put that in a small bowl with a cross made of cloves pressed into it, but it gets hard to fit the containers, so I melted some butter and poured it into a glass, instead. The one concession to a typical North American basket are the little chocolate eggs. The whole thing gets covered with a pretty cloth. I’ve got several hand embroidered, some antique, clothes I like to use. The one chosen for this year is actually under the basket as I took the picture. We skipped the sprigs of greenery because we usually just don’t have any fresh greenery around Easter.

Over the years, we’ve included prosciutto roses (in place of the traditional bacon), marzipan shaped into a lamb and flowers, a bottle of wine, a white candle, and fruit. An apple, grapes or figs would all by symbolically appropriate.

Normally, after the basket has been blessed, we’d put things away in the fridge until tomorrow, when it will be the basis of our Easter brunch. This year, however, it’s cold enough that we can put it all into the old kitchen, which is easily as cold as a fridge!

As I will be out for much of the day, I don’t know when I will have a chance to write a post. So I will take this moment to wish you all a happy and blessed Easter, from the Re-Farmer family to yours!

More digging, an injured cat and Easter preparations

There weren’t a lot of cats out and about when I did my morning rounds, which was a bit of a surprise.

I only spotted seven at first! Then Potato Beetle showed up, wanting into the sun room, so I let him.

With a bit of concern. He seemed to be limping a bit.

With the new snow on the ground, I can’t get to some of the areas that I normally check as part of my rounds, so the necessities were finished quickly. I decided to take the time to dig out the burn barrel, since we’ll need to fire it up before things start melting away.

This area had been almost completely clear of snow before the storm. This is all new snow.

After digging out enough space to move around the barrel without getting too close while it’s lit, I also dug a path to the spare fire ring, and took the snow off the dry wood and kindling we have on the grate we use as a spark shield in the summer.

After a quick check of the roof, I dug out (almost literally) the roof snow shovel and used that to take as much snow off the sun room roof as I could. Hopefully, there won’t be too many leaks into the sun room when the rest of it melts.

While in the sun room, Potato Beetle came out of his warm spot on the bottom shelf, which is when I could see that yes, he was limping. A lot. He was avoiding putting weight on his front left leg at much as he could.

Damn.

I’ve called the vet and we now have an appointment for him for Wednesday at 7pm. They are now open 7 days a week, for extended hours. They are even open over Easter weekend, but are so booked, that was the earliest she could fit us in. She did put us on the cancellation list, just in case.

*sigh*

Hopefully, the funds set aside for my new glasses (which apparently won’t happen, since I’m not allowed to get an eye exam) will be enough cover it.

So that is set for Wednesday evening, then on Thursday, I have to go to court to deal with our vandal’s vexatious litigation against me that he filed, after I applied for the restraining order against him.

Hopefully, the judge will throw it out for the ridiculousness it is.

*sigh*

Well, until then, we will continue our Easter traditions. Today, we are assembling our basket. We’ve decided not to take it to the church for blessing, and will just bless it ourselves again. When my mother told me her church was doing it and what time, I talked about possibly bringing our basket in. She then launched into a long diatribe about how she hoped I wouldn’t bring that big, big basket I had the last time we were able to get our basket blessed. Apparently, in her mind, only small baskets are acceptable. No one has big baskets, so bringing a big basket is somehow uncivilized. Clearly, she forgets some of the big baskets people would bring to the church we used to go to when I was a kid. Ours could be considered small in comparison. Not to mention the ones with all the decorations hanging off the handles, and the bottles of win, etc. What she’s completely forgetting is why we do basket blessings in the first place. Instead, it’s become yet another thing to show off to other people, and judge other people for if they do it “wrong”. I don’t want her attitude to ruin one of our most symbolic and deeply meaningful traditions. When I called her last night and updated her on things (my nephew and his family were on the road at the time; they have since arrived safely!), she brought up getting her own basket ready, then asked if I’d be bringing ours. Phrased in such a way that she clearly thought I would not, and that the restrictions (there are none) were the reason.

Since I am driving my mother to my brother’s on Easter, the girls are staying home to celebrate it with my husband, with our traditional brunch, using foods from the basket.

I hope they remember to take pictures for me! 😀

The Re-Farmer

Storm Status, and Easter baking

Well, it’s certainly snowing and blowing enthusiastically, out there!

That hasn’t stopped the birds from enjoying the suet feeder.

The driveway is so white right now, it’s messing with the camera’s ability to “see” it, making for some interesting rings of colours on there.

I took this screencap of the weather app on my desktop, just minutes ago. According to this, the worst is still yet to come. It is still conflicting with what’s showing on the weather radar.

Well, it will be what it will be. My main concern is with the high winds, of course. When this is over, we’ll have to do a walk-about to see if any more dead trees have come down, or what branches have fallen.

From the looks of the weather radar, the most severe conditions are hitting the US, as the system sweeps across the Eastern states. I hope those of you living in those states are keeping safe!

While it’s snowing and blowing, we got some bread baking done.

A two-loaf recipe was divided into four small loaves. The prettiest one will be for our Easter basket.

Since I was baking bread anyhow, I made a batch of oatmeal bread, also divided into four small loaves instead of two regular loaves. That way, we get a loaf each. 😀

I’m looking forward to having one of them with a big bowl of chili, once it cools down enough. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Watching the radar

Things are still looking pretty good out there, though the daytime temperatures are definitely on the colder side. The storm alerts remain, with snow predicted to start in the wee hours, tonight. The local “looking ahead” notification on my phone’s app now reads, “A snowstorm from late tonight into Friday afternoon with blizzard conditions tomorrow and accumulations of 40-60 cm.”

That’s 16-24 inches. Yesterday, the high end of the local prediction was up to 45cm/18in.

The main alert has changed a bit. I no longer see the warning for up to 80cm/31in in some areas.


Winter Storm Warning

Issued at 04:27 Tuesday 12 April 2022

Hazardous winter conditions are expected.

Major spring storm poised to wallop southern Manitoba beginning overnight Tuesday into Wednesday morning and lasting until Friday morning. Widespread snowfall accumulations of 30-50 cm accompanied by northerly winds gusting 60-70 km/h giving zero visibility at times in snow and blowing snow.

A Colorado low will move towards Minnesota Tuesday night bringing a heavy swath of snow through most of southern Manitoba. The snow will start early Tuesday evening near the International border then push northward throughout the night. By Wednesday morning heavy snow will be falling in much of the area as the storm continues to push northward. Strong northerly winds will develop with this system and persist into Friday morning as the low slowly pivots through Minnesota on it’s way into northwestern Ontario.

For the City of Winnipeg and points southeastward, a break in the snow may occur on Wednesday afternoon or evening before snow re-intensifies overnight into Thursday. 15 to 20 cm is likely by Wednesday afternoon, with a further 15 to 20 cm likely with the second area of snow overnight Wednesday through Thursday and Thursday night.

By Friday morning, widespread snowfall accumulations of 30 to 40 cm are likely.

Travel will become increasingly difficult as the day progresses Wednesday, with widespread highway closures a near-certainty. By Wednesday evening even travel within communities may become impossible as the heavy snow and strong winds continue… and more of the same is expected on Thursday.

Do not plan to travel – this storm has the potential to be the worst blizzard in decades. Stock up on needed supplies and medications now. Power outages are likely, rural areas in particular should be prepared for extended outages.

Conditions should begin to improve on Friday as the winds taper off and the heaviest snow moves into northern Ontario…although the clean-up after this storm will likely last well into next week.

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Rapidly accumulating snow will make travel difficult. There may be a significant impact on rush hour traffic in urban areas. Heavy snowfall accumulation combined with strong winds may cause damage to trees or other structures. Poor weather conditions may contribute to transportation delays.

Winter storm warnings are issued when multiple types of severe winter weather are expected to occur together.


As I write this, the main body of the system is over North Dakota as mostly snow, shifting to mostly rain across Minnesota. Though the system is being pushed almost straight North, it’s going East enough that it looks like the most severe weather will pass over the southern border where Manitoba and Ontario meet, with the rain in Minnesota turning to snow quickly, as it heads into Ontario. The system is very wide, from East to West, but it’s now looking like Saskatchewan is going to be spared the worst of it. My nephew and his family are still thinking of making the drive out, but a day later than originally planned.

We’ll see how things actually turn out.

Until then, things continue as usual.

Ghost Baby has been coming out every morning, of late, and not being a ghost at all. My guess is that it’s because she’s pregnant and very hungry.

Just look at those silly kitties, crowding around the one tray on the ground, when there are four other trays inside the kibble house! Altogether, I saw 14 kitties this morning.

While switching out the memory card on the sign cam, I was finally able to find something – it just had to wait for more snow to melt, and the leaf litter to dry before I could see it.

This is one of the closures from the trail cam. I’d been able to find the wire latch, but the black plastic leaver with the hinge were too dark to see on dark wet ground.

Of course, it’s the top latch that broke. The bottom latch is still intact and should be enough to keep the camera closed enough for the weather seal to keep working, but with this latch broken, there is more of a possibility that moisture will get in.

There are a lot of things I like about this camera, but it has one major failing. I cannot handle our cold. When the temperatures drop, the LED screen stops working, and I have to warm it up with my hands to be able to see the settings while changing the micro disc card. Any colder, and it simply stops recording and the batteries freeze. At least it does start working again on its own, when the batteries warm up again. And now I find the plastic becomes more brittle due to the cold, too. At least I hope it’s due to the cold. Otherwise, it’s just cheap plastic.

Ah, well. Live and learn.

I would still recommend this camera is you live somewhere with warmer winters than what we get. For most of Canada, however, I’d say don’t bother. There are other brands with the features this one has that I like. They cost a lot more, but you get what you pay for!

Meanwhile…

We are still working on our Easter preparations. I don’t know if I’ll be able to go to the blessing of the baskets on Saturday, but we’re still making it. This year, we’re doing the eggs differently. Instead of dying them in the shell, we’re doing different types and colours of pickled eggs. Right now, we’ve got pink pickled eggs in the fridge, using the brine from our out pickled beets. We’re also going to do a soy sauce brine for brown, and turmeric brine for yellow. I boiled up a whole bunch of eggs already, and finished peeling the last of them this morning. We have just enough mostly-undamaged eggs to do 6 of each type of pickle… and a bunch of ugly ones for egg salad. 😀 After that, the only thing we have left to do is bake our fancy Easter bread. 🙂

Easter has always been my favourite Holy Day, and our basket tradition the one I’ve always looked forward to the most!

The Re-Farmer

Happy New Year!

The Potato Beetle does not approve of 2022, already!

Maybe because, as I write this, we’re at -33C/-27F with a wind chill of -42C/-44F, which is a couple of degrees warmer than when I was outside feeding the critters.

I made sure to top their kibble up yesterday evening, and there was still some left. Not a lot of the outside cats came out for non-frozen kibble. The warm water was of much more interest to them! At least it was sunny, and the yard is sheltered from the wind.

I hope you had a wonderful time bringing in the New Year, while keeping warm and cozy!

We had our prime rib dinner, which turned out very well, even though things didn’t turn out as planned. After going through a number of recipes, I settled on one that said to roast it at 500F for 20 minutes, then shut off the oven and leave it closed for 2 hours. The recipe even made clear that this worked on newer ovens with digital temperature displays that were more accurate than older ones, and since we did have to get a new oven…

Well, after 2 hours, the meat thermometer basically read “raw”. Oh, there was a fantastic crust on the outside – I coated it with a heavy layer of fresh crushed garlic, salt, pepper, paprika and enough truffle infused olive oil to make a paste – but the internal temperature barely moved the needle on my meat thermometer. I fell back on another set of instructions I’d read, which had been to sear at 400F, let sit for 3 hours in a closed oven, then roast at 350F until the internal temperature was right. So I turned the oven back on, and it took about 45 more minutes to reach medium rare, then it had to come out to make room for the stuffed squash. The squash took way longer to roast than expected, and we ended up increasing the temperature and cooking the appetizers at the same time. We ended up eating the squash as an appetizer, too. 😀 It just worked out better that way.

The stuffed squash was only thing I managed to get a picture of. I can’t remember the name of the squash I bought.

My daughter stuffed the halves with thin slices of Granny Smith apples, butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. It was very good, though the squash itself was not as tasty as the Red Kuri squash we grew (which I’ve never seen in a grocery store), so we didn’t bother keeping the seeds.

All in all, it was a very good meal, and we all ate way too much, even though we spread the courses over several hours. My husband didn’t make it to midnight, and our daughters and I almost didn’t, either! 😀

Aren’t we just the party animals. 😉

Today, we’re planning another special – much smaller! – dinner to continue celebrating the new year, which is also the 8th day of Christmas.

Until then, I think what I really want to do is take a nap.

I like my boring life.

The Re-Farmer